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Big Wine, Big Food, Big Trees at 6th Big Sur festival

27579513-addf-4002-8639-de3052e8d19aOctober 28, 2014 – Sipping exquisite wine and food under a redwood canopy is just one option at an upcoming showcase of talented local chefs and wineries. The sixth annual Big Sur Food & Wine Festival kicks off Thursday, November 6, with a daytime Magical Mystery Tour of three private properties on the Big Sur coast followed by the Gateway to Big Sur gala at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands. The festival includes two more days of events in Big Sur at venues like the Henry Miller Library and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

Organizer Toby Rowland-Jones is enthusiastic about this year’s program and is extremely proud that, since its inception in 2009, the BSF&W Festival has raised enough money to donate more than $100,000 to local nonprofits that serve the areas of health, safety, education and the arts. “The original concept was to raise awareness of Big Sur as a culinary destination, and also have it as a fundraising arm for a small community that relies heavily on volunteer services,” he says.

For Gateway to Big Sur on November 6, more than 20 chefs from Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey, San Francisco and other Bay Area cities are contributing delectable selections for attendees to enjoy, while more than 30 local wineries will be providing wine. (See full list of participating restaurants and wineries below)

998780_716906511671350_867926026_nOne brand-new Gateway chef is Chad Minton, who recently became executive chef at the Hyatt Carmel Highland’s Pacific’s Edge, arriving from Hyatt’s Andaz 5th Avenue in New York. Other participating chefs include Justin Cogley (Aubergine), Brad Briske (La Balena), Jacques Zagouri (Andre’s Bouchee), Cal Stamenov (Bernardus Lodge), and Sam Bans (Treebones), a first-time participant. “Bans is really excited about being at Gateway and also at the Grand Public Tasting,” says Rowland-Jones. Another first-time participant is Black River Caviar, the country’s leading caviar producer. A portion of proceeds will be donated to the Big Sur Health Center.

Two Gateway veterans are Kent Torrey of The Cheese Shop in Carmel and Stamenov. Torrey absolutely loves this event, Rowland-Jones says, and really enjoys promoting it. “He was at the Masters of Food and Wine for years and feels we are manifesting a really cool evening at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands with our Gateway to Big Sur,” adds Rowland-Jones, whose own background includes helping manage the Masters of Food & Wine.

Stamenov, who was executive chef at the Highlands for years, was heavily involved with the Masters event in the past. “He has supported us so gracefully,” says Rowland-Jones. “Chef Cal is one of the kindest and most community-oriented chefs I have ever met.”

Additional events include several winemaker dinners and the Grand Public Tasting, which is being held for the first time at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday. “The views up the mountain are truly mind-boggling. Mt. Manuel goes pretty much straight up to over 3,000 feet, and the whole area is surrounded by monumental redwoods and sycamores,” he adds. Sixty wineries and 20 chefs will be at the tasting, and the silent auction includes items such as wine magnum collections and photographs by noted Big Sur artist Kodiak Greenwood. Rowland-Jones promises that visitors will be impressed with both the refreshments and the setting. “It’s a great opportunity to see and taste truly divergent, yet exceptionally high quality, food and wine,” he says.

10410287_850039161691417_3693181602526982661_nIf you’re a Pinot fan, you’ll be interested in the Pinot Walkabout from noon to 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7, at Loma Vista Gardens (next to Big Sur Bakery). There will be 30 pinot noirs, with food to accompany the wine. Owner Patrice Boyle and Executive Chef Mark Denham of Santa Cruz’s Soif Restaurant & Wine Bar are thrilled that Soif is participating; Denham will be cooking dishes for the event, and Boyle and Denham will both be present.

Dinner With Friends and Auction for Big Sur, from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8 at the Henry Miller Library, is one of Rowland-Jones’ favorite annual events. “We’ll have a reception with special cocktails, champagne, passed hors d’oeuvres, and then the live auction—followed by dinner,” he says. “Many guests bring special wines to share. We bring together a truly unique collection of auction items, and the bidding is always spirited!” During dinner, attendees will enjoy an abundance of food and wine, and have the opportunity to meet several winemakers and chefs from the festival.

That same evening, another option is the second annual Sommelier’s Dinner at 6 p.m. at Big Sur Roadhouse. A five-course dinner will feature multiple wine pairings for each course. A pair of local sommeliers, including Casanova’s Jeffrey Birkemeier, Aubergine’s Nathaniel Muñoz, and jeninni kitchen + wine bar’s Thamin Saleh, leads each course. Attendance is limited to 40 guests, who can expect to see wines they may never get the opportunity to try again.

The BSF&W Festival, Rowland-Jones says, is a lot more intimate than other festivals of its kind. “We only invite our friends,” Rowland-Jones says. “All the winemakers and chefs are those whom we personally know, love and respect.”

TripAdvisor’s FlipKey blog recognized the festival’s uniqueness by awarding it one of only nine spots in its list of “Top Food & Wine Festivals for 2014.”

To purchase online tickets to Gateway to Big Sur, visit https://gatewaytobigsur.eventbrite.com

To purchase online tickets to other Big Sur Food and Wine Festival events, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/big-sur-food-wine-festival-november-6-8-2014-tickets-12589703141

For more info on the festival, visit www.bigsurfoodandwine.org


Restaurants participating in Gateway to Big Sur include:

  • 1300 on Fillmore
  •  Andre’s Bouchee
  • Aubergine
  • Bernardus Lodge
  • Big Sur Roadhouse
  • Black River Caviar
  • Carmel Valley Ranch
  • Cuvaison
  • Dosa San Francisco
  • Esalen Institue
  • Grasing’s
  • jennini kitchen + wine bar
  • la Balena
  • Mundaka
  • Pacific’s Edge (Hyatt Carmel Highlands)
  • Passionfish
  • Porters in the Forest
  •  The Cheese Shop
  • The Preserve
  • The Hitching Post II


  • Treebones


Wineries participating in Gateway to Big Sur include:

  • Albatross Ridge
  • Birichino
  • Calera Wine Company
  • Chanin
  • Chappellet Vineyard
  • Cold Heaven Cellars
  • Continuum (Carlo Mondavi)
  • Crocker & Starr
  • Dirty & Rowdy
  • Domaine Select
  • Foxen
  • Galante Vineyards
  • Hartley Ostini
  • Kunin
  • Liquid Farm
  • Madeleine Winery
  • Maison Marques and Domaines-Roederer Champagne
  • McIntyre
  • Morgan Winery
  • Mount Eden
  • Paso CAB Collective
  • Paul Lato Wines
  • Perception
  • Pisoni
  • ROAR
  • Shared Notes
  • Tablas Creek Vineyard
  • Talbott Vineyards
  • Talley Vineyards
  • Vineyard Brands
  • Wedell Cellars
  • Wind Gap Wines




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